Friday, April 8, 2011

Bart Peterson Signs Indiana Compact

Bart Peterson, former Mayor of Indianapolis (2000-2008), signed the Indiana Compact today (8 April), joining former Mayor William Hudnut, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, and a long list of state leaders from academia, the business community, and faith-based and social services communities who have signed the Compact, according to a news release.

“Indianapolis must, above all, be a city that welcomes diverse talent. The Indiana Compact recognizes that diversity produces prosperity. I hope lawmakers can find ways to encourage our continued development as an international city.”

The Indiana Compact is a statement of five principles that the signers hope will guide rational immigration policy debate as the 2011 session of the Indiana General Assembly enters its last three weeks. There are a number of legislative proposals being considered that deal with immigration.

The Compact, based on a similar document in Utah, was developed by the Alliance for Immigration Reform in Indiana (AIRI), a coalition of leaders in business, academia, faith-based and social services organizations. Nearly 4,000 Hoosiers have signed the Compact to date, including this Indianapolis Observer.

The Compact states:

FEDERAL SOLUTIONS: Immigration is a federal policy issue between the U.S. government and other countries—not Indiana and other countries. We urge Indiana’s Congressional delegation, and others, to lead efforts to strengthen and reform federal laws. We recognize that border security is a critical element of national security, and further urge our Congressional representatives to work to protect the borders as part of a comprehensive immigration policy.

LAW ENFORCEMENT: We respect the rule of law and support law enforcement’s professional judgment and discretion. Local law enforcement resources should focus on criminal activities, not civil violations of federal code.

FAMILIES: Strong families are the foundation of successful communities. We oppose policies that unnecessarily separate families. We champion policies that support families and improve the health, education and well-being of all Indiana children.

ECONOMY: Indiana is best served by an economy that maximizes individual freedom and opportunity. We acknowledge the economic role immigrants play as workers and taxpayers. Indiana’s immigration policies must reaffirm our global reputation as a welcoming and business-friendly state.

A FREE SOCIETY: Immigrants are integrated into communities across Indiana. We must adopt a humane approach to this reality, reflecting our unique culture, history and spirit of inclusion. The way we treat immigrants will say more about us as a free society and less about our immigrant neighbors. Indiana should always be a place that welcomes people of goodwill.

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